Have you ever considered putting in your own private water park and then wondered how to build a splash pad for your backyard? It’s not as hard as you may think if you follow these seven crucial steps.
A backyard splash pad is a fabulous way to add a blast of fun to any backyard or pool area. However there is some high level detail needed to do it properly. This is not a project you just throw together without rhyme or reason. While you don’t need a professional to install one, following a tutorial is a smart move to ensure you do build it properly. Follow along this step by step guide and you are sure to end up having this awesomely functional not to mention beautiful splash pad for the whole family to enjoy.
1. Choose a design for the splash pad project.
This is where the fun begins. Time to design you very own splash pad. When it comes to designing your own splash pad, the sky’s the limit figuratively speaking. There are a variety of choices when it comes to nonslip surfaces available for the deck. Some of these include pavers, rubber and textured concrete.
The type of surface you use is going to be determined by the aesthetics you are striving for. One may suit your needs better than the other.
Some other things that you will need to consider are space, lumber and the number of water jets you want to include in your project. Regardless of what your taste and preferences are, there is more than likely a kit that will suit your needs. Then there is always the possibility of custom designing your own, if your ideas are way different from those that come with the kits.
There are a lot of choices to make when preparing to install a splash pad. Many different non-slip surfaces are available for the deck including pavers, rubber and textured concrete. Depending on the look that you are going for, one or the other of these surfaces may be the best choice. It will also be necessary to think about things like space and number of water jets to be included. No matter what your preferences are for the project, there is likely to be a kit that can supply the desired outcome. Of course you may need a custom design if you have very different ideas for your installation.
2. Get all of the pre-project details taken care of.
It is important when tackling any project of this magnitude that you have done proper planning prior to starting the project. By this I mean contacting the Building department to determine if you are in need of any permits in order to build your splash pad, and to ensure that it is approved BEFORE starting any of the prep work.
It would be horribly disappointing to get part way through your project only to have your municipality to tell you to tear it apart.
Not only can you find out if you are able to construct your project, you can also find out if a licensed electrician is needed to do the electrical system for the splash pad. Word of wisdom, unless you know exactly what you are doing when it comes to electrical it is in your best interest to consult an electrician.
If you are not using a kit be sure to keep a sketch plan and a list of parts and sizes. One thing worth remembering is to keep the size of you fittings the same throughout the project. It can be a total pain having multiple sized fittings.
Your sketch should also include details such as the layout of the pipes and electrical wiring. There should be an area for the pump, holding tank and filter. You will also need to include in your sketch plan accurate spacing between the manifolds, valves and pipes. Place the holding tank outside the play area. Be sure to allow room for maintenance around holding tank, pump and filter system. These precautions in your early stage of planning can save you a great deal of hassle and potentially costly renovations down the road.
3. Make a plan based on the chosen layout.
Now the fun really begins, it’s time to get your hands dirty. This next step will be the beginning of the building phase. First things first, prepare the area by marking out the dimensions of your splash pad. You can use spray paint. Make sure to take note of where you have located the pump, filter and holding tank when laying out the dimensions. Remember to locate the pump, holding tank and filter outside play area and to allow room for maintenance or repairs.
Now it is time to start digging. You will need to remove about 18 inches of soil from the entire area of installation. Where you have pipes and electrical you will need to build trenches slightly deeper to accommodate their placement. The area where you plan to put the holding tank will need to be deeper in order for it to fit properly. Important fact to remember, if your drainage system is gravity fed, the area drain will need to be at least six inches above the holding tank. This factor will determine the depth of the hole needed for the tank.
Keeping the pump protected is a very important aspect of maintaining your splash pad. They are vulnerable to the elements, and other things. You will need to keep this in mind while building, to ensure fewer hassles later on. A frozen pump, is a junk pump, trust me on this! For a surface pump you will need to house it properly by using a shed or some other structure to keep it safe. For an underground pump, it will need to be encased in cement.
By this I mean you will need to build a small area with cement floor and walls in order to set the pump in. With the need to access the pump the top will need to be of concrete with some sort of handle to move it. You can also build an insulated cover using treated sheeting and foam insulation. Whether you decide to use an above or below pump keeping it safe is a major priority. They can be costly to replace.
When planning and designing another thing to keep in mind is that the area drain should be going at the lowest point of elevation. By this I mean that the grade of the splash pad should head towards the lowest elevation where the area drain should be placed.
4. Consult the instructions for your kit.
Not every splash pad has the same type of instructions. Now you need to check the specific layout of splash pad which you are installing. You may be required to put a footing in, and to find your center. If that is the case using a tape measure, measure the length, halfway put a mark with your paint, do the same with the width. Now you should have found the center. This is for a rectangular area.
5. Put the pieces together.
At this point you will attach all the pieces and install the holding tank in its hole. Install the filter, pump and lay out the electrical wire. Do not connect electrical to its power source at this point.
While sticking to the particular installation instructions for your kit, begin laying out the pipes. The splash pad should now have pipes connecting the holding tank, pump, filter, spray heads and valves. Be sure that there is enough height on the risers for the spray heads that they will be above ground after you have filled in the area to the finish elevation. Remember that the area drain should be going at the lowest point of elevation. A good rule of thumb is for every nine feet of distance; you should have a two inch decrease in elevation.
6. Fill in the area.
The groundwork has been laid and now the fill can begin. First cover all the drains, heads and valves with something to prevent debris from entering, perhaps painters tape. Now you will need to backfill to about ten inches from where the surface of the splash pad will be. Ten inches is the rule for a concrete pad. If you have chosen to install pavers, continue the fill until you are about eight inches from the desired surface level.
Next up will be a six inch deep layer of clear aggregate. This layer remains the same no matter what surface you have chosen to install above it. If a concrete pad is being installed, pour about four inches of concrete over the aggregate. For pavers a half inch layer of sand comes next followed by the concrete pavers. Remember the need for drainage slope.
7. Take care of the finishing touches.
Now that you have filled in your splash pad area you will need to check the pipes on the spray heads and trim them if they are too far above ground level. Patch any areas of the concrete or pavers that have gaps remaining. Remove covering or tape from drains, valves and heads. Attach the cover of the area drain and make sure that all hardware is firmly affixed.
You or your electrician will now need to hook up the electricity and test out the functionality of the system. Check for leaks and ensure that everything is working safely and properly. Do a test run with the water and make sure that there are no clogs or debris in the pipes and heads. From here on out the only thing left to do is enjoy your new splash pad.
This may seem like a big project to take on, and yes it can be. It would be a sensible idea to have several people who can pitch in and help. Have them read this guide along with you and when you’ve finished it’s time for an awesome splash pad party!